Chicago Bulls: Previewing Their Second-Half Schedule

Michael Gibbons@DachicagofanCorrespondent IIFebruary 28, 2012

Chicago Bulls: Previewing Their Second-Half Schedule

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    The NBA's first half is in the books and the Bulls kick off the second half on Tuesday.

    They finished a pretty successful first half going 27-8 and are only a half game back of the Heat for first place in the conference.

    With the first half completed, I decided to look at the bold predictions I made before the season, and so far I didn't do too bad.

    While my predictions on Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer might be off, I was correct on the team having multiple All-Stars.

    So with the second half ahead of us, I decided to make a little cheat sheet to preview the home stretch because, trust me, you're going to need it.

Home Cooking

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    After a brutal first half, which saw them play 20 road games, the Bulls will enjoy the comforts of home in the second half.

    Of their remaining 31 games they will have 18 at home in the United Center.

    They will even get to enjoy a nice home stand, having six straight home games between March 8 and March 17. Actually, if their trip to Milwaukee on March 7 is anything like their last game there, maybe we can count that as another home game.

    This current Bulls team has been very good at home going 13-2 in the first half. They also went 36-5 at home last season.

Spaced-out Schedule

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    The Bulls played a lot of games during the first half of the season.

    They played 35 of their 66 games, including their three games in three nights and five games in six days already.

    The second half is going to be very different.

    Starting with the Hornets on Tuesday and Spurs on Wednesday, the Bulls only have seven back-to-back games. They had 10 in the first half.

    During the first half they went 9-2 in the second game of a back-to-back and swept their five games in six nights.

    They played 35 games in 63 days during the first half, while in the second half they will only play 31 games in 70 days.

    You know Tom Thibodeau will be happy that he can finally start having real practices again.

Western Conference

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    The Bulls will get to see some of the best in the West during the second half.

    They will host New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, Portland and Utah while hitting the road to see the Spurs and Thunder.

    Besides Tuesday's game against New Orleans, it will be the only time they play the other teams.

    In Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City they will play three of the four top teams in the Western Conference.

    Houston, Portland and Utah are all also in playoff contention. The Rockets are currently tied with the Lakers for the fifth spot and are only four games ahead of the 11th place Jazz.

    I know it would have made the schedule harder but I wish we could see the Clippers, Lakers or Thunder twice rather than playing the Hornets and Grizzlies twice.

    A fun fact is if the lockout hadn't have happened the Bulls would have opened the season in Dallas, but with the lockout they wait until the third to last game of the season to play.

Playoff Previews

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    The Bulls played everyone in the Eastern Conference at least once during the first half; they did play some teams more than others.

    While they played Atlanta and Boston three times each already, they have only played all the other playoff contenders once.

    They will play the Magic, Pacers and 76ers all two more times, while they play the Knicks and Heat three more times.

    Chicago also plays Atlanta and Boston one more time apiece.

    That means about a third of their remaining schedule is against Eastern Conference playoff teams.

    I predicted before the season that the Bulls would win at least 50 games, which would mean they have to win 23 of their last 31 games. I think they can do it.

    Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bullspodcast every Wednesday on my site, The MG Experience.